Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads Officials in Columbus, Ohio, are scrambling to contain a burst of mumps cases. There's a new clinic open for vaccinations, and Ohio State University is teaching students how to protect themselves.
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Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads

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Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads

Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads

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WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Columbus, Ohio, gets an average of one case of the mumps per year. There are now at least 234 cases in a viral outbreak that began on the Ohio State University campus. From member station WOSU, Steve Brown reports that most of those infected had already been vaccinated against the mumps.

STEVE BROWN, BYLINE: Columbus health officials are calling it this city's biggest outbreak since the development of the mumps vaccine in the 1940s. It even pushed them to open a new clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED NURSE: A little bitty poke and a stingy feeling - a little, tiny bit.

BROWN: Public health nurses have vaccinated about 150 people in the new clinic, including Sean Hubert, who works in the health care industry.

SEAN HUBERT: You know, if I - you know, if I ended up getting the disease and then passing it to my staff, not only does that feel bad on my part, but then they could certainly, you know, pass it to the clients that they serve.

BROWN: The majority of those infected so far are students or staff at Ohio State, where health officials say the outbreak began. Administrators say they're trying to educate students on ways to limit spreading infection, like frequently washing their hands. OSU officials say there's only so much the school can do. Grad student John Vaughn is considering revaccination.

JOHN VAUGHN: I haven't been back for a booster. But I'm considering it now that I realize kind of the - that this can pop up even if you've been vaccinated.

BROWN: As Vaughn notes, vaccinations are not 100 percent effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one dose is about 78 percent effective. That increases to 88 percent with a second dose. That's why Columbus Health Department Director Teresa Long is urging more vaccinations.

TERESA LONG: We're in a community outbreak situation. That would not have been the recommendation if we did not have that going on here.

BROWN: Mumps usually brings flu-like symptoms and swollen salivary glands. But it can have serious long-term effects, including possible deafness or damage to reproductive organs. Health officials say it could be several months before this outbreak subsides.

For NPR News, I'm Steve Brown in Columbus.

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